Learning and Building Relationships


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

Many people think that children learn many aspects of academia or life mainly in schools or academic institutions. This is indeed so but a child also learns from his surroundings.

When the child goes to a hilly place, and sees hills and different types of birds or trees or flowers he finds that a hill is also a place for learning. The weather is also cooler (without any AC). He wonders why the place is cool, why the trees, flowers are different from those that he is accustomed to see in his town or village. If he is accompanied by an older person (parent or older sibling, or a teacher) he may ask : why are the sights and weather different?

Even if he asks these questions from a person with whom he is traveling, is not a teacher and is not living in this area, he may get an answer that may not be completely correct. The child does however get some response which partly whets his curiosity. He will ask these questions from other people — even his teacher who may satisfy his curiosity partly if not fully.

Whoever is the person with whom he has faith in, the questions that the child mentally poses to himself  — he will also ask another person. But before he asks his queries and tries to remove his doubts, he should first have confidence in the person . This way a type of healthy relationship between the child and the other person ensues.

If the person the child is talking to, is a teacher, the latter will also ask questions from the child. The child who is generally full of energy, may sometimes answer questions that may be partly correct — and partly incorrect. The teacher who has experience of other children or students will make sense of even incorrect responses. If the response is incorrect, the teacher could ask other queries that are aimed at drawing the correct answer. This way the student will understand why his earlier answer was partly faulty and will arrive at the correct response by his own intelligence and background of knowledge.

If a person goes to a hill station in India and finds that the roads are blocked or there is heavy downpour or if a cyclone is raging that prevents him from travelling beyond, he may send a message to his family or friend ‘I am choked here. What should I do?’

Yes, he may not be able to travel further but even where he is blocked, there are several avenues for keeping him occupied. He can look at the hilly region and try to study the greenery and examine the path he is on to ensure how he can travel further or return to where he started from. He can take photos of his surroundings which he can display to his friends or family back home.

There may be another person who is also in the same place and facing similar difficulties. The two can talk to each other in order to find some avenues for addressing their predicament. Talking to each other may not yield the desired answer to address the difficulties, but it will make the two persons feel comfortable in each other’s’ company while they are forced to stay there. Another possibility of the two together, is that they could help in overriding their difficulties — the two could try to think of a solution together that individually would not be practicable. For example if there is a river that has flooded, one person may not be able to cross the river but the two together could slowly cross it with each other’s presence and help.

We are stressing the importance of coming together and building relationships between two (or more) persons. If a person or even an older child thinks about it, there is the concept of relationship in life. Two brothers or one brother one sister build a relationship between them that helps them in facing any odd situation. Similarly in a school, some children come together and help each other academically or even in playing games. When someone asks them of this coming together in a family they understand that their father and mother have come together, built a loving relationship that allows them to take care of their children or face any difficulties or problems.

Coming together and building relationship is not only among individuals, but also between two people of different religions or between countries. Even a child understands and appreciates that India and Nepal or India and Sri Lanka, have common issues in different spheres of life — for schooling, for participating in games and in other spheres of life like taking part in religious or social events.

For example, Diwali which is a Hindu festival where people light their homes with Diyas (earthen lamps) is an occasion of sharing the fun and food between communities, even between countries. It is no surprise that even some big cities of USA light their homes with electric lamps on Diwali and share the warmth of the event. The festival builds up a spirit of camaraderie and nonviolence. Similarly, even several non-Christians celebrate Christmas and enjoy coming together emotionally.

In today’s world, we hear of countries investing in canons, guns, bulldozers etc. Politically, this should be avoided for fostering peace. Any factor that builds peace and coming together is to be welcomed with open arms and broad smiles. Towards this end some countries such as USA, Canada, Switzerland, Australia have built a   Coming Together Federation    for   promoting peace, goodwill, economic development. Let us all individually and community wise welcome these efforts.

Federation or not, building and promoting peace and goodwill between people is praiseworthy and desirable.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. ravipbhatia@gmail.com

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 14 Aug 2023.

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